A young mother tensed at the sight of the erratic man chasing cars Thursday while she played at a sandbox at Cheyenne’s Holliday Park with her toddler son.
But the man was still far enough away that the mother, Nicole Klassy, stayed where she was, though she kept an eye on him. He was in his own world: waving his arms, yelling and running.
Klassy’s 2-year-old little boy vroomed his monster trucks through the sand.
The man kept chasing cars and yelling at them. Amazingly, he was keeping up with some of the cars, Klassy told Cowboy State Daily on Friday.
“You could tell he was either on drugs or just not mentally there,” she said.
She looked around and noticed how empty the park was. Usually other families, runners and bikers visit Holliday during the morning hours, she said.
The man tore off after a Jeep. The driver, another male, talked to the man briefly. But the man started beating on the Jeep and it drove away.
Get Out Of Here
By that time, the man was right next to the park.
Klassy picked up her son and started to walk toward her car as the man approached the park – still at a distance.
Suddenly, the man started chasing them. Klassy bolted for her car, running with the little boy in her arms, his legs dangling at her sides.
“I knew I was in trouble,” she recalled. “I just started screaming for help.”
But no one was nearby.
Then the man started grabbing branches and rocks and hurling them at the fleeing mother and son.
Klassy tucked her son’s head against her chest, knowing that she could protect him if she could guard his head. One of the rocks hit and scraped the little boy’s leg, and he started crying.
Thankfully, the toddler couldn’t see that someone had thrown the rock at him on purpose, Klassy said.
Klassy didn’t think she’d make it to her car before the man reached her. There was no way she could fumble for her phone and call 911 while sprinting with a toddler.
With their pursuer less than 20 feet away, Cheyenne Police Department officers appeared, tackled the man and whisked Klassy and her son to safety, she said.
“I’m forever grateful for whoever called 911,” added Klassy, who speculates that the caller was the man in the Jeep. “Even one more minute, and I’m not sure what could have happened.”
Not only did the police show up, they swarmed in with about seven cars, she said. “It was like a scene out of a movie.”
In Jail Now
Cheyenne police arrested Joshua Aaron Reid, 31, at the park and recommended charges of public intoxication and throwing stones.
Reid is 5-foot-9, 187 pounds, according to the police call log for the incident.
He reportedly looked like he was high on methamphetamine. His pupils were dilated in broad daylight. He had a hard time controlling his limbs and was yelling incoherently, says the report.
Though shirtless and wearing no shoes, Reid was extremely sweaty, despite the 60-degree weather that morning, the log adds.
The report says Reid also had a pair of brass knuckles tied to the front of his pants.
Klassy takes her boy to one of Cheyenne’s parks every day. Usually she likes Holliday, especially in the mornings because other people are around to ease the tension.
But the mother and son didn’t go to any parks Friday.
“I’m still shaken from the whole experience,” she said, adding that she’s also grateful her 6-year-old son was in school instead of with them at the park, because he would have rationalized the attack more and would have remembered it.
The man appeared homeless, said Klassy. He had a backpack and wore threadbare clothes.
There are often homeless people in Cheyenne’s parks, she said. And though the lifelong Cheyenne resident said there seem to be more homeless people in town lately, they have never bothered her before.
“They just hang out on the gazebos or they’re just walking past,” she said. “If they’re yelling or having a moment, they just walk by.”
Being chased by a frantic man hurling rocks while with her toddler was a “rude awakening,” said Klassy.
She hopes her story will heighten other parents’ protective instincts toward their precious young ones.
“It’s just important, I think, for any parent to be aware,” she said. “You never know with people anymore.”
Clair McFarland can be reached at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com.